29/07/2019 - Permalink

Shrewsbury Castle Dig Diary: Day Five

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Day five at Shrewsbury Castle began by resolving the deeper trench surrounding the 1920’s water pipe. As we know that what surrounded it must be backfill, it has been a relief to get to the bottom of this layer (no 10), now affectionately known as ‘the BBQ’ for its high levels of animal bone. With this task completed the entire surface of the trench needed to be planned and drawn. We observed as Dai guided Will through the process and then I put this into practice for my own small cut that had been dug through a layer of fill material. Dai emphasised the importance of accurate measuring as once it has been recorded the level is then removed.

An image of the Shrewsbury Castle dig team discussing layers in part of the trench, trying to understand the relationships between different elements of the archaeology.

Excavator Liz Painter, Dr Nigel Baker, Dr David Williams and Dr Morn Capper examine some of the 17 levels in the trench

Breaking through the road surface we hope to find artefacts that have not been disturbed by previous work and which might help date the road surface.

An image of the trench being drawn and recorded at the first ever excavation of Shrewsbury Castle.

Will Whitfield, volunteer from University Centre Shrewsbury, planning the trench surface before further excavation

Sadly we instead uncovered the remains of a small dog, at a level that suggests it is more modern and so possibly the burial of a much loved pet.

Probably the remains of someone’s pet – the dog was found in and carefully removed from the upper layer of road surface

At the trench end nearest the castle we have reached our seventeenth different context, and we are now working to confirm the relationship between them! Different levels of sand and stone become clearer as volunteers work to strip back the road surface. A sandy level may hint toward the foundation of a possible wall, date unknown.

Tom Bowen, University Centre Shrewsbury, writing on behalf of all volunteers working on the excavation at Shrewsbury Castle.